The Airbnb Story

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 13 Apr 2017

Member Reviews

interesting look at this industry disrupting company and how it started.  I wanted a bit more from the story though, it reads more like a lengthy article than a book.
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An enjoyable read about a genuinely interesting company. I felt it didn't quite know what its target audience was - I was reading it hoping for a deep, insightful business book and while some of it fulfilled that, some of it fell a little short. Still very enjoyable though, and well worth checking out whether you're a fan of Airbnb or not.

More detail in my Goodreads review...
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A fascinating book about a simple idea that went global.
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I love reading books that are both interesting and give me some useful business knowhow.

Not being a user of Airbnb (yet) but familiar with its staggering growth, I wanted the chance to get the inside story, warts and all.

On the whole I really enjoyed this book. It was insightful and you get some really in-depth character profiles of the three founders. My favourite takeaway from the book is that the CEO, Brian Chesky, who had no previous business experience, learnt so quickly by absorbing as much information from experienced leaders as he could. He would be open about not knowing something, seek out people who have the skills he wants, and interrogate them to get the information he wants. As someone who often feels uneasy about admitting I don’t know something this was a fantastic eyeopener.

There are two reasons I didn’t rate this book higher:

1) It was very long-winded. The book felt it should have finished about 50 pages earlier but it just kept going. Towards the end it did feel like the author was just trying to meet a word count, making sentences and paragraphs a lot longer than they needed to be. The one thing that most often causes me to drop down ratings is when books drag on too much towards the end.

2) Most of the time it felt like one big advertisement for Airbnb. I understand that working closely with the founders you’d be fairly limited in what you can say if you want them to approve the book – but I did feel like I could have just been reading Airbnb’s website at times.

Overall this is is a short (around 250 pages), well-written insight into Airbnb’s story. If you’re interested in getting insights from successful businesses then I do recommend this – its positives outweigh its flaws.
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I read one non fiction book for every 30 or so fiction, so I clearly have a strong preference but as a user of Airbnb I was interested to see what this was about and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  The writer was objective and clear, didn't drown me in business jargon and data but told a compelling story and I found a lot of it quite inspiring. A good deal of the leadership journey can be applied to any work place, or even personal goals and I would certainly recommend it to anyone with an interest in travel, social issues, tech or just appealing start up stories :)
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